What is IELTS?

What is IELTS and who is it for Untitled Page

The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) measures the language ability of a candidate and indicates whether they are ready to study or train in English.

IELTS is jointly owned by British Council; IDP: IELTS Australia and Cambridge English Language Assessment.

IELTS scores are accepted by more than 9,000 recognising organisations and delivered in more than 1000 locations worldwide.

Who is it for?

The IELTS test is widely recognised by universities and employers in many countries and is used by candidates for many different reasons, including:    

• students wishing to study in a UK university at undergraduate or postgraduate level
• overseas doctors, dentists and nurses wishing to train or work in the UK
• people wishing to emigrate to Australia, New Zealand or Canada.

 For test takers wanting more information, please visit Take IELTS; for teachers and researchers, please visit www.ielts.org.

 Academic or General Training (GT) module?

There are 2 IELTS modules available: Academic and General Training (GT). It is your responsibility to apply for the correct module. You should speak to the institution that has requested an IELTS test from you to find out which one they require, but as a guideline:

IELTS Academic is for test takers wishing to study at undergraduate or postgraduate levels, and for those seeking professional registration.

IELTS General Training is for test takers wishing to migrate to an English-speaking country (Australia, Canada, New Zealand, UK), and for those wishing to train or study at below degree level.

Visit Who accepts IELTS? to search for the organisations you want to apply to, and find out which version you need. If you are in doubt as to which version to take, you should contact the organisations directly in order to check their requirements.

Please note: the General Training (GT) module is not offered on all test dates.

Test format

All candidates are tested in four areas: listening, reading, writing and speaking. All 4 modules are taken on the same day, unless otherwise stated. Candidates should set aside a whole day (9.00am-5.30pm) for the test. Please note: all timings are approximate.

The modules are taken in the following order:

• Listening - 30 minutes
• Reading - 60 minutes
• Writing - 60 minutes
• Speaking - 10 to 15 minutes

IELTS for UK Visas and Immigration

If you need an IELTS for a UK visa or immigration application please visit our IELTS for UK Visa and Immigration page.